Scripture Memory Made Easy

Scripture Memory Made Easy is the title of a little book by Mark Waters. The method resembles the approach I was taught by Garry Friesen as a college student in the late 1970s. The 64-page booklet, dubbed an “easy-to-understand pocket reference guide,” is both a guide to Scripture memorization and “a plan for learning one hundred Bible verses in fifty-two weeks.”

The author stresses the importance of review and has built this crucial element into the method. He also advises the excellent practice of memorizing verses topically. Both of these components of a sound Scripture memory plan were part of the Navigator’s “Topical Memory System” that I used when I was a teenager.

I have always believed in the value of Scripture memorization. It’s never too early to begin. Nor is it ever too late. For all the enthusiasm we see today for new techniques of “spiritual formation,” there is almost no emphasis on the memorization of carefully selected passages from the Bible.

Scripture Memory Made Easy, by Mark Waters, is a useful remedy.

Order at Amazon

Happily, the Topical Memory System, by the Navigators, continues to be published. Today’s kit includes 60 verses cards with passages from several familiar English translations, a workbook, and a verse card holder.

If Scripture memorization is new to you, I urge you to begin now. God will reward your efforts with the supply of wisdom for life’s small and major moments.

Note: I welcome your response to this post. Other readers may be encouraged to know of how your own experience with Scripture memory has increased your faith, enabled you to follow God’s will, and fostered greater boldness as a believer living in a secular society.

This website is read by people of differing beliefs. This particular post is primarily for those who believe the Bible is the greatest source for wise living. Anyone who believes this should be especially open to the value of Scripture memorization.

Again, I look forward to hearing from you!

About Doug Geivett
University Professor; PhD in philosophy; author; conference speaker. Hobbies include motorcycling, travel, kayaking, sailing.

12 Responses to Scripture Memory Made Easy

  1. Pingback: Latest memorization techniques news – The Art of Reviewing Your Notes « Grades Blog

  2. Thomas Wanchick says:

    Does anyone know of good books on Scripture memorization that kids would enjoy and learn from? Thanks.


  3. Doug Geivett says:

    Hi Mark,

    For sure, one should select choice texts of the Bible for memorization and meditation. They should be understood in context as the are memorized. And during the memorization and review process, thought should be given to the appropriate application of what is memorized. I think that under these conditions, the effort to commit the Word to memory will not be futile, will not be spiritually unproductive. We are not always aware of the transforming effect of the Scriptures in our lives. It isn’t that we should expect dramatic revelations or special experiences. It’s that the steady, deeper acquaintance with the Word yields fruit in due course.

    The Psalms have been popular for various reasons and have been studied and applied using a variety of methods. Memorization is one significant. Psalm 119 actually commends Scripture memorization.

    Let us know how your study of the Psalms works out for you.



  4. Chris says:

    I ran across a book published by a Talbot alum on this topic:

    Scripture by Heart: Devotional Practices for Memorizing God’s Word, by Joshua Kang

    Foreword by Dallas Willard!


  5. Mark says:

    I respect those like Willard who think scripture memorization is highly beneficial, but I have not found it to be so personally. I have memorized parts and forgotten them over the years and just didn’t notice any real benefit. Not at all like the benefit I received from reading cover to cover a couple of times (skimming really) as a new Christian. I have not read either of the memorization books discussed, but I have come to be somewhat skeptical of the way Protestants tend not to distinguish one part of scripture from another, as if the choice of text were of little consequence, whether memorizing or just reading. That always struck me as odd. I’ve learned that in earlier times the Psalms were considered the critical text to know for the layman. Here is Athanasius on the topic, and his view I believe was a representative view for over a millenia. Bonhoeffer treads similar ground in his book on the Psalms. I can’t vouch for the efficacy of this method personally yet, but I’m trying it out and at least the idea makes sense to me intellectually, and that so many of the greats advised laypersons over the centuries to begin there that I can’t but try to take their advice.


  6. Doug Geivett says:

    Hi Chris,

    I’ve been friends with Dallas Willard for many years, and I know his work well. Thanks for sharing a choice quote from his seminal book The Spirit of the Disciplines. I wish the emphasis he places on Scripture memory was more prominent in the spiritual formation movement as a whole.


  7. Doug Geivett says:

    This is an inspiring word, Paul. Let’s have a revival of Scripture memory!


  8. Wow…the TMS (Topical Memory System)! I’ve not heard about this for more than 25 years. A few years after I became a believer I was nurtured by an employee of the Navigators who encouraged me to start the TMS. I memorized several packets within a year. In time, I began memorizing entire pericopes and chapters. It was and remains the most important aspect of my spiritual life; being able to recall God’s Word at an instance. I cherish this discipline above all others because it is God’s Word that reveals God’s heart. As I’ve said elsewhere we live from the inside out. It is the content in our minds that drives the direction of our hearts. Yes we have moments when we act before we think, but predominantly our thought life dictates the course of action that we take. Therefore, thinking God’s thoughts after him is truly transforming.

    Once while in a military formation standing at “parade rest” for a very long time, I was meditating on 2 Cor 5:21, rehearsing variant emphases upon each word as I recited it in my mind. After about 20 minutes I was brought to uncontrollable tears because God has so impressed upon my heart what he had done for me through Christ. Needless to say, retaining my “military” composure was a wee bit difficult.

    Thanks, Doug, for bringing back such a stirring memory about memorizing Scripture!

    P.S. Love the new blog theme…much easier to read.


  9. Mark Elson says:

    I agree it is a lost art, and is not really seen as a vital part of spiritual and intellectual formation anymore. But even as a child growing up in a baptist fundamental setting, once Sunday School was not part of your Sunday routine scriptural memorization was lost as an emphasis.

    I have some skeptisism, I have seen to many times emphasis on memorizing scripture just because it will make you a morally correct person for God as if ‘”you are not found having favor”. I memorize because I would like to give the holy spirit more instant scripture to work with for my spiritual and intellectual formation.

    If there is new methods that help me retain more, Great!


  10. Chris says:

    From Willard’s “Spirit of the Disciplines” (p 150)

    “As a pastor, teacher, and counselor I have repeatedly seen the transformation of inner and outer life that comes simply from memorization and meditation upon Scripture. Personally, I would never undertake to pastor a church or guide a program of Christian education that did not involve a continuous program of memorization of the choicest passages of Scripture for people of all ages.”

    An excellent liturgical practice in worship that I have seen (rarely) is to have the whole congregation recite a memory verse each Sunday for a particular season of worship (i.e. Lent, or a sermon series through a particular book). I suspect the body of Christ would practice this discipline more if it was something regularly modeled for them by their leaders and times of corporate worship.


  11. Chris says:

    For what it’s worth – Dallas Willard, the “father” of the contemporary spiritual formation “movement”, often advocates the memorization of large chunks of scripture as his primary example of the “technique” of spiritual formation. I relate this anecdotally from having attended several of his lectures.


  12. There’s so much you get from memorizing Scripture. Not only is it great to break out a quote in a debate / discussion, but in times of personal trial, a verse can really help.

    I’d also add that it’s especially helpful if you’re learning another language! (In fact, I’m currently editing a language series in Taiwanese that uses the Bible alone as its language textbook. Scripture memorization is the main tool. [I patterned this method after what I read of early missionaries to China and Taiwan.])

    The only major problem I’ve encountered is this:

    Which version should we memorize? 😦


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